Not all online health information is created equal

Confused young woman looking on laptop feels bewildered by reading online newsAnalysis paralysis?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available on the internet about health? Between social media feeds, news sites and other sources, you might be getting conflicting information and feel confused or untrusting of credible sources. Furthermore, misinformation can lead to dangerous consequences like sickness and even death.

While sites like Facebook have taken it upon themselves to crack down on false and harmful information, there are still bad actors with malicious intentions lurking in the recesses of the internet sometimes in places you might not suspect.

Just how big of an issue is this? Consider the fact that falsehoods are 70% more likely to get shared than accurate news. To counter this, the World Health Organization has taken a number of actions with tech companies to remain one step ahead of misinformation.

This all begs the question: how can you determine— a lay person — what’s credible and what’s not? If you find yourself in this situation we’ve put together a helpful guide you can lean on when evaluating information:

Whose website is it?

Sources need to be unbiased without an agenda. Some of the best websites to gather evidence-based health information include:

  • Government agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Canada)
  • Medical schools and hospitals (e.g., Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic)
  • Online journals and research databases (e.g., PubMed)
  • Professional or nonprofit organizations (e.g., Environmental Working Group (EWG), American Heart Association)

What is the purpose of the website’s content?

Put in the time to determine the site’s underlying purpose. Is it trying to sell products or services? Many brands will have educational blogs on their websites that feature information written or at least corroborated by credible sources. While not always inherently dangerous, it’s important to review any health-related content on a brand’s site to ascertain whether the claims are sound, or if they’re just trying to make a quick buck.

How is the information selected and reviewed to make sure it’s accurate?

  • Vetting is a best practice in the scientific community. That said, you can poke around the site and find out if the site has:
  • An editorial board of health experts
  • A content review process
  • A selection policy for content
  • Information about their writers’ qualifications, which may be listed at the bottom of the articles

If the source ticks all of these boxes, it’s likely to be more credible than not.

When was the information written?

A piece of content from 2012 might no longer be up to the standards of the scientific community. As research advances the domain, older sources might no longer be relevant or accurate. That’s what it’s best to look for published or last updated dates on websites, which can typically be found at the top or bottom of the webpage.

Does the website make health claims that sound too good to be true?

Be skeptical of media outlets that make unrealistic promises (i.e. drop 30 pounds in a month). There’s a good chance they’re playing into the quick-fix mentality and are desperate to sell you a product that doesn’t work or isn’t safe. At best you might throw away your hard-earned money and at worst, you could end up in the hospital. You could avoid both by taking the time to scope out the entity behind the site and what they stand for.

Consult with experts

Not all online health information is created equal, so take care to analyze each piece of information through a scrutinizing lens. In general, seek health information from your practitioner or reputable sources such as the government, academia, peer-reviewed medical journals, medical schools, hospitals and professional or nonprofit organizations.

If you have concerns about something you read, it’s best to have a conversation with your practitioner and ask them for their recommendations for finding credible sources for health information. Furthermore, always speak to your practitioner before adding or changing anything in your wellness plan. Supplements and other products are not regulated by the FDA and can interfere with medications and cause contraindications.

As our name implies, we’re all about empowering you to live your best life and that starts with knowledge. If you’re looking for some guidance on anything related to your health and wellness, we can help. Integrative medicine tries to recognize that each individual is unique and is facing unique circumstances that may be impacting their health and wellness. We believe that promoting the health of the body takes a complete approach to lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality, and looking for any allergies or intolerances. If you’re fed up with traditional medicine and want answers (maybe not found online), that’s exactly what we offer. Give us a call at (703) 822-5003and breathe a sigh of relief knowing you’re closer to living a fuller life.

Junk food: how it is going to kill you

81052890 - man eating junk food and driving seated in his carSure, the title of this post may be a bit harsh, but guess what else is harsh? Junk food is harsh on your body. It may be easy to give into that Big “Fat” Mac or Seven Layers “Of Poor Health” Burrito, but when you’re done eating them, that’s exactly what you’ll have: excess fat and poor health.

Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t trying to be excessively negative or depressing. We’re just trying to save your health and, ultimately, your life. Junk food sure is quick and easy; a quick and easy way to potential health issues. And don’t be fooled; even junk foods that are low in calories are bad for you. Why? Because they are excessively processed, filled with artificial ingredients and lacking in the essential nutrients your body needs.

Do you feel fatigued, stressed or suffer from a lack of focus? Perhaps you have been to the doctor a dozen times for fibromyalgia, a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome, or diabetes, when your body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes effectively. If so, are you feeling trapped by the daily pills and wondering if it’s the only way? Have you considered what you are eating as being a potential contributor?

Highly processed junk foods contain unhealthy ingredients such as nitrates, bad fats, sugar or artificial sweeteners, salt or other unwanted chemicals as a result of the way they are processed. Just consider for a moment the number of machines processed foods go through on their way to your mouth. By the time they hit the grocery shelf or fast food counter, they have been so burnt, frozen, dehydrated and stuffed with preservatives, they have pretty much no chance of providing you with any kind of nutrition.

Many people suffer from chronic disorders that their physicians have trouble either diagnosing or treating. Yet, far too few family doctors ask their patients, “What are you eating?”

There is a reason why the popular saying, “you are what you eat” exists. The last thing you need is to feed your body junk!

Here are some tips for giving up junk food:

  1. Get rid of any junk food that’s currently in your house. If it’s not there, you won’t be tempted to eat it.
  2. Avoid places where you usually buy junk food. If the grocery store is your weak spot, try shopping online or at a different store altogether.
  3. Find healthy alternatives to your favorite junk foods. If you love chips and dip, try carrot sticks and hummus instead. Craving ice cream? Make yourself a healthy smoothie with frozen fruit and yogurt.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up sometimes. Everyone does! Just get back on track as soon as possible and don’t let one bad choice turn into an all-out binge.

Eating well on a budget

128601581_MEating a diet rich in nutrients has benefits, no matter your age, health status or other factors. People who prioritize eating well tend to have longer lifespans and are at lower risk for chronic (long-term) health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. For those managing chronic conditions, healthy eating has been proven to make a difference in terms of quality of life.

Nutritious meals are commonly thought to be more expensive than junk food, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can achieve this goal by being more mindful of your choices. Consider the following four tips for healthy eating on a budget.

1. Prioritize making home-cooked meals.
Eating at home curbs costs and helps you better control ingredients, portions and calorie intake. This habit can set you up for success because you’re more likely to eat more fruits and veggies. Plus, eating at home is also generally more cost-effective per person than eating out regularly.

2. Meal plan.
Creating a meal plan and related shopping list is a great idea because it can reduce the number of impulse purchases and keep the grocery bill within budget. There’s an art and a science to doing this. For instance, start by taking inventory of what you have in the fridge and pantry and work backward. You can even find inspiration from internet recipes, cookbooks, Pinterest and friends to curate a menu that’s both tasty and healthful.

From here, come up with a meal plan that suits your lifestyle and budget. For instance, hectic school nights might call for keeping meals simple. Consider using recipes with common ingredients that can be used for multiple meals. For example, you might make a big pot of rice and use it as a side for a stir-fry one night and freeze the rest for another meal. Proteins like beans and lentils make for great staples that will fill you up and provide fiber, which is essential to healthy digestion.

Once you have a game plan, head to the store with a list and do your best to stick to it. You might consider using apps to track what you’ve purchased to streamline your trips to the store. There are some options that even help you follow a certain dietary preference, such as vegetarianism or veganism.

3. Compare similar products.
The grocery store can feel like sensory overload. There are a lot of different foods to choose from and you might not always feel empowered to make the best decisions. Comparing similar products according to nutritional value and cost per serving can be helpful when trying to stay within your means.

Also, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Some grocery items may have a lower retail price (total cost) but a higher unit price. The unit price indicates the cost per serving or weight, such as cost per pound or ounce. A lower unit price, however, indicates a better value, even if the retail price is higher than comparable products. For example, food sold in single-serving packaging often has a higher unit price than the full-size version. This is why it’s recommended to buy the full-size product and create individual portions at home to control costs.

It should be mentioned that buying foods is bulk is often the way to get the lowest unit price. Save money by buying non-perishable items like starches in bulk. You might consider making an investment in a Costco membership to help bring down food costs.

Another proven tactic to save money at the checkout is to purchase the store brand. Items like canned vegetables, dairy products, oils, and frozen fruits and vegetables are usually available in generic versions and usually, there’s no meaningful difference in taste or flavor.

4. Purchase in-season produce.
Buying strawberries in the winter isn’t the best idea for your pocketbook. That’s because eating in-season produce can result in lower prices. If you’re really craving something that’s not in season, you might consider the canned or frozen variety. However, select ideas usually don’t fluctuate much in cost during the year and those include apples, bananas, carrots, lettuce and oranges.

Be conscientious about how much produce you will eat throughout the week, as fresh produce spoils faster than canned or frozen varieties. If you budget allows, try to buy a mix of fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables.

In short, eating well might seem like a tall order on a budget but it’s very possible when you’re equipped and armed with the combination of knowledge and planning to make better decisions. You’ve got this!

Still, healthy eating isn’t the only path to optimal health. We believe that promoting the health of the body takes a complete approach to lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality, and looking for any allergies or intolerances. If you’re fed up with traditional medicine and want answers (maybe not found online), that’s exactly what we offer. Give us a call at to make an appointment.

When it comes to fat, it’s location, location, location

53101243 - happiness is the best motivationNot all fat is created equal.

That’s because the location of your body fat may determine how much of a role it plays in boosting your risk for health problems.

Subcutaneous fat, or the fat on your arms, legs and hips, is fairly benign. But visceral fat, or the kind that extends in your abdomen and surrounds your organs, can pose problems.

Why? Because belly fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes and a host of other conditions, according to research. And sorry guys, belly fat tends to be a bigger problem for you than women.

Researchers are investigating why belly fat causes such a problem. But for the everyday person, it is important to know where to start and how much belly fat you might have.

So how do you tell if belly fat is getting the best of you? Measure your waist. While waist circumference alone cannot diagnose the body fatness or overall health of an individual, it is a valuable screening tool according to the CDC. In general, for women, 32 inches or less is healthy; 33-34 inches is overweight; 35 inches or more is obese. For men, 37 inches or less is healthy; 38-39 inches is overweight; 40 inches or more is obese.

If you want to improve your health and get rid of that waistline fat, there are a few things you can do. Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to reduce abdominal fat. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. This could include walking, biking, swimming or any other activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat.

In addition to exercise, diet is also important when trying to lose abdominal fat. Eating fewer calories than you burn will help create a calorie deficit, which will force your body to start burning stored fat for energy. Try to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. Avoid sugary drinks, processed foods, and excessive amounts of alcohol.

If you want to lose abdominal fat quickly, you may need to temporarily increase the intensity of your exercise and/or diet. However, make sure not to overdo it – too much exercise or too drastic of a calorie deficit can lead to problems like muscle loss or metabolic slowdown. Once you’ve reached your goal weight, you can then focus on maintaining it through a healthy lifestyle.

Ready to shed some belly fat? Nutrition, fluids and exercise can help jump start the waistline revolution. Pick one place to start, such as exercise and begin making it a habit. Studies indicate that regular exercise — even just brisk walking for 30 to 45 minutes a day — can make a significant dent in the circumference of your waist. If you need some guidance, feel free to give us a call.

#Goodvibesonly: How to make your house feel like a home

Elegant living room interior in luxury houseYour home should be your sanctuary, a place where you can leave the day’s problems and stressors at the door. How does your home make you feel? If it’s anything less than calm, collected and serene, you might have a project on your hands.

Speaking of mental health, we at Proactive Wellness employ an integrative approach to health. This means that mental and physical health are inextricably linked. In other words, what’s good for one is good for the other. Making changes in one area can help or hinder other facets of health.

That’s why we challenge patients to look at all the dimensions of their health and focus on weak areas. Your home’s atmosphere might be one important factor you hadn’t considered in the context of your larger health goals, but it does matter. To create a space that’s good for the body, mood and soul, you might consider gradually implementing the following changes in your home:

Bring the outdoors in. Houseplants, fresh-cut flowers and blooming bulbs, pieces of wood, rocks and other natural elements can help conjure Mother Nature. In addition, you might consider items like small fountains for the same effect.

Paint a room to evoke a mood. Different colors are associated with different moods and feelings. For instance, blue and green are calming and great choices for the bedroom. Warn colors (maroon, coral, burgundy) are heartier, heavier and may suit a family room or reading room.

Behold the power of scent. Whether it’s a diffuser, candle, or even making your own home fragrance on the stove, smell has a powerful effect on mood and wellbeing.

Create a mini sanctuary. A place for spiritual reflection and meditation can help you unplug and deal with the stressors of everyday life. It can be a whole room or even just a corner in your house. What matters is that you have such a space carved out for this purpose. Do your best to keep digital distractions to a minimum.

Prioritize cleaning and tame clutter. There’s something about a clean house that puts you at ease. However, a grimy one can affect your mood and outlook. If you have trouble staying on top of regular cleaning consider hiring a cleaning service. Plus, a low-maintenance abode is great for mental health after a demanding day. Fewer items can mean less frustration. Spend time regularly decluttering and following a more minimalistic philosophy by discarding what no longer serves you and only buying items that you truly need or want.

Focus on what fills your heart with joy. Display handmade or meaningful gifts from loved ones and photos of family and friends. Nothing can lift your mood faster than seeing a photo from that awesome family vacation.

Focus on lighting. During the day, open up the blinds or curtains to let in natural sunlight. In the early morning and evening, use candlelight to set the tone for relaxation.

Make comfort a priority. Throw pillows, soft rugs, and snuggly blankets are tried-and-true ways to bring in softness. And if you want to feel like you’re at the spa, fluffy towels, a plush bathrobe, and some cozy slippers are must-haves. High-quality linens and comfortable furniture are worth the investment since you spend so much time at home.

At the end of the day, you want your home to feel like a respite, not a place you avoid because the vibe is off. By adding some special touches you can curate your own calm in the storm of life. What might you consider changing or improving to make your home a place that serves you?

Check out these 4 tips to naturally reduce inflammation

Woman Cooking SaladInflammation can be highly uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful, but the presence of inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. Inflammation is a natural response to an infection or injury. It is a part of the body’s healing system and so occurs when there is injury or illness to combat.

However, inflammation can also occur without these triggers and, in these cases, is typically a result of one’s lifestyle, including diet, stress level and lack of exercise. Even if your inflammation has become chronic, there are natural ways to reduce it so you can improve and feel better soon.

1. Diet

To start with, consume anti-inflammatory foods. Select a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods and unhealthy fats. Some foods that you will want to add to your diet include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, fatty fish and berries. In the same vein, keep away from foods known to contribute to inflammation, such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined carbohydrates, alcohol and processed meats.

2. Get active

A sedentary lifestyle is a great contributor to inflammation and the pain that comes with it. You’ll do yourself a great favor by being sure to start an exercise routine. Research has suggested that just 20 minutes of exercise each day can have an impact by activating important cellular responses. We know that there are days when it can be difficult to spare even 20 minutes, but know that doing so will have a significant impact on your health.

3. Manage stress

Another goal of yours should be to manage your stress. Everyone manages stress differently, so find what works best for you. Natural stress reducers include: lavender, chamomile, baths and meditation. Some also find solace in practicing yoga. And did you know that exercise and a healthy diet can also help you feel less stressed? That’s a win-win.

4. Healthy lifestyle

Lastly, general lifestyle factors can have a big impact. When you adopt an overall healthier lifestyle, you are likely to see a big difference. Improve your lifestyle and improve your life. So, don’t smoke and make sure you’re getting adequate sleep. Spend time with friends and be sure to take time for yourself.

Chronic inflammation doesn’t have to continue to impact your life. Take the steps now using these tips and experience a pain-free, healthy existence. You are entirely capable of leading your life down the path you want to go. If you’ve followed this advice and continue to experience harmful inflammation, make an appointment with your functional medicine doctor to get to the root cause.

Checking in: 5 habits to reconsider

Woman using her mobile smartphone. She chatting with friend on mobile phoneWhile most people know that a steady of potato chips and running on four hours of sleep a night consistently are unsustainable habits, many other sneaky bad habits can also creep into our routines and wreck havoc on our bodies.

Some of these habits can be hard to recognize, especially if we seem to do them on autopilot. You may not notice any deleterious effects right away, but over time they can really get in the way of our success. That said, here are a few practices to rethink and replace with healthier ones:

1. Using Self-Criticism

Constantly beating yourself up and putting yourself down only leads to poor self-image and possibly depression. Self-compassion, on the other hand, is correlated with greater psychological health and resilience. It takes work but curating a kinder inner dialogue can pay dividends.

2. Mindlessly Scrolling Through Social Media

It’s called Doom Scrolling for a reason. Studies show that the more time people spend on social media sites, the more feelings of isolation they reported. And social isolation can spell trouble for mental and physical well-being. Too much time spent online can result in fear of missing out (FOMO) and jealousy.

At the same time, some people are afraid to deactivate their accounts because they want to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. You can get the same payoff from investing your time and energy in in-person interactions. For example, schedule lunch with a friend, host a party or even volunteer to feed off people’s energies.

3. Watching TV

You probably already know that an hours-long Netflix binge isn’t great for your body, but research shows watching too much TV is also bad for your brain.

A 2016 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that high television consumption and low physical activity in early adulthood were associated with worsen mental acuity and speed later in life. In other words, our bad habits can catch up with us even years later.

Swapping TV time for physical activity could be key to brain health. So rather than zoning out in front of the TV after work, try to go for a brisk walk or even hit the gym. You’ll feel better and your mind and body will thank you.

4. Eating When You’re Not Hungry

Do you find yourself reaching for a snack or a second portion when you’re not actually hungry? You’re not alone. Emotional eating, nighttime eating, or societal pressure are reasons why you might over-indulge.

Such a habit will catch up with you sooner than later — consuming extra calories may cause you to become overweight. And carrying a few extra pounds increases the risk of a variety of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and even cardiovascular diseases.

To keep your weight in check, it’s important to choose nutrient-dense foods that fill you up, instead of “empty” calories associated with processed foods. It’s also a good idea to really check in with yourself when you’re tempted to eat when you’re not actually hungry.

Just like limiting TV time might be hard at first, it’s not impossible to trade unhealthy habits for ones that serve you and your waistline. For instance, practicing yoga can help you better cope with uncomfortable feelings and be grounding so you’re not reaching for a candy bar every time something upsets you. In the long term reducing caloric intake can mean a longer lifespan and improved quality of life.

5. Sitting Too Much

If you have an office job there’s a good chance you spend a lot of time sitting. They say sitting is the new smoking, so lack of activity will catch up with you sooner than later. Sedentary behaviors have been associated with an increased risk of the same physical health issues associated with overeating.

But there’s more to it than the physical. Spending too much time ideal can spell trouble for your mental health, too. Studies show people who sit too much are at a higher risk of depression.

The good news is that committing to an hour of vigorous activity each day can help offset the negative effects of modern office culture. A standing desk is a great alternative to a traditional workstation. It’s also important to get up for a few minutes every 30 minutes to stretch your legs. And if your boss and team are open-minded, you might even consider walking meetings.

Good health is the sum of our daily habits. If you have concerns about a specific facet of health, we’re here for you. Integrative medicine tries to recognize that each individual is unique and is facing unique circumstances that may be impacting their health and wellness. We believe that promoting the health of the body takes a complete approach to lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality, and looking for any allergies or intolerances. If you’re fed up with traditional medicine and want answers (maybe not found online), that’s exactly what we offer. Give us a call at (703) 822-5003 to make an appointment.

What can you do for your health in only seven minutes?

Asian women exercise indoor at home she is acted "push up"Have you heard of the Scientific 7-Minute Workout? It is a high-intensity workout that was first published in the American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal in 2013. Backed by science, this workout combines 12 exercises “into a single exercise bout lasting approximately 7 minutes. Participants can repeat the 7-minute bout 2 to 3 times, depending on the amount of time they have. As body weight provides the only form of resistance, the program can be done anywhere.”

If you haven’t tried it, you may be missing out on a vital way to increase your overall level of health and wellness.

One of the main problems people have with regular exercise is a lack of understanding on what is effective and efficient. Efficiency is important because in our day to day lives, it can be hard to carve out a significant chunk of time to focus on regular exercise. Fortunately, there is a solution. The exercises in the Scientific 7-Minute Workout use a chair and a wall. You don’t need a weight set or other equipment. The only tool you need to complete these high-intensity workouts is your body.

What does this mean for you? A quick way to maximize the benefits of a long run and some time in the weight room, all in 7 minutes or less.

Research has proven that high intensity workouts are not only good for your body, but good for your mind. A few minutes of high intensity training close to your body’s maximum capacity induces molecular changes within muscles that can be comparable to several hours of running or riding a bicycle.

The exercises include:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Wall sits
  • Push-ups
  • Abdominal crunches
  • Step-ups onto chair
  • Squats
  • Triceps dips on chair
  • Planks
  • High knees running in place
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups and rotations
  • Side planks

The exercises are meant to be completed in rapid succession, with each taking about 30 seconds to complete, followed by 10 second rest periods in between. Keep in mind, this workout is designed to be intense and not entirely pleasant, but just tell yourself, “you can do anything for just seven minutes!”

Before you try it, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, this is an intense workout. So if you are just getting into an exercise routine, this is not where you should begin. Also, you have a greater chance of injury with high-intensity workouts, so you want to make sure you are ready for this level. Finally, it is important that you are doing the exercises correctly to get the most benefit and to avoid injury.

Whether you are a beginner looking to get in shape or you are in great shape but need a fast workout, good for you for taking care of your health! The most important thing is to get up and get moving.

Six natural ways to balance your hormones

Mature group of people doing breathing exerciseHormones are the chemical messengers of your body. They travel through your bloodstream, instructing different organs and tissues on what to do. From reproduction to metabolism regulation, your hormones control all of your body’s major processes.

Just as a tiny hormonal imbalance can have negative effects, including diabetics, weight gain, infertility, depression and many more. A good parallel is to consider what happens when you add too much salt to your food. You ruin it! Your hormones are like ingredients that need to be properly balanced.

Hormonal injections and supplements are two common ways people combat hormonal imbalances. However, in this post, we take your attention to six ways you can balance your hormones naturally.

1. Get enough sleep

Sleep is arguably the most important factor affecting hormonal balance. Nothing can save you from hormonal imbalance when you don’t get enough restorative sleep – not even nutrition or exercise! Poor sleep has been linked to imbalances in hormones like cortisol, insulin, ghrelin and leptin. A study found that sleeping for four hours per night reduced insulin sensitivity in men by 20%.

Based on a study by the International Journal of Endocrinology, getting improper sleep can result in diabetes, obesity and problems with appetite.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily, but it’s important to note that quality also matters. Going through the five stages of each sleep cycle is important for the release of growth hormones.

2. Exercise regularly

The right kind and amount of exercise will positively impact your body’s hormones. A major benefit of exercise is its ability to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin levels.

Insulin is an anabolic hormone that allows our body cells to take sugar from the bloodstream and use it as energy. Low levels of insulin result in constant fatigue, anxiety, irritability and pale skin. On the other hand, high insulin levels have been linked to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Many types of physical activities, however, have been found to modify hormone levels. Performing aerobics, strength training, walking and other exercises will help lower your risk of many diseases.

3. Manage stress

We live in an insanely fast-paced world, where no one ever seems to take a break. This high level of stress affects two main hormones – cortisol and adrenaline.

Cortisol is the stress hormone that helps us cope with long-term stress. Adrenaline is responsible for our fight-flight mechanism, which helps us to react instinctively to danger. While these hormones fluctuate depending on the current condition, they are supposed to get regulated.

However, in high-stress environments, cortisol levels remain high. This saps an immense amount of energy, which causes you to eat more, putting you at the risk of obesity. If your adrenaline levels remain elevated, it can result in high blood pressure and anxiety. That’s why you need to effectively manage your stress level.

4. Avoid sugar and refined carbs

Sugar and refined carbs have been found to play a role in issues such as insulin resistance and metabolic disease. Fructose, in particular, increases insulin levels, especially in overweight people with prediabetes or diabetes. Common sources of fructose include honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and refined table sugar. A diet high in refined carbs like pretzels and white bread may promote insulin resistance.

That’s why it’s advisable to eliminate sugar from your diet. In particular, stay away from sugary beverages. Eating a low- or moderate- carb diet instead of refined carb may help overweight people reduce their insulin levels.

5. Consume healthy fats

While fat is important for the proper functioning of the body, unhealthy fats like trans fats have been found to cause insulin resistance and increase belly fat storage. That’s why it’s good to take only high-quality natural fats.

Coconut oil, pure MCT oil and palm oil contain medium-chain triglycerides, which help to provide the liver with energy. MCTs are also known to reduce insulin resistance.

Dairy fats and monounsaturated fat in olive oil and nuts can help increase your insulin sensitivity. It also helps balance the hormone responsible for appetite regulation and the digestion of protein and fat.

6. Eat enough protein

Consuming enough protein is very important because it provides the body with amino acids, which the body can’t make on its own. Amino acids assist in the creation and growth of muscles, connective tissue and skin. They aid in healing and repair, as well as digestion.

To maintain your hormonal balance, eating protein is non-negotiable. Consuming protein decreases ghrelin (which is our hunger hormone) while stimulating the production of other hormones that make you feel full.

Common sources of protein include lean meat and poultry, fish and eggs, among many others. Asides from being a good source of protein, fatty fish also contains long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that help decrease insulin levels while increasing insulin sensitivity.

Wrap Up

Other natural tips worth mentioning include:

  • Eating a high-fiber diet
  • Drinking green tea
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Stopping smoking

Your hormones influence both your physical and emotional well-being. Adopting these practices into your lifestyle will help you enjoy better overall health.

Contact us today for more information!

Protect yourself this summer

Sun’s out, fun’s out! Now that summer is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of all the fun things you are going to do…all the trips to the lake, laps around the pool, BBQs with friends, etc. It is exciting just talking about it! 13406329_M

However, what is not so exciting is talking about the downer…summer safety. While summer is a fun season with warm temps and outside gatherings, it can also wreak havoc on your health.

First and foremost, one of the major dangers of summer is the sun itself. Without proper protection, your skin has no shield from its blinding rays. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, most adults do not wear sunscreen on a regular basis.

Adding a simple step to your morning routine and applying an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen can greatly reduce your odds of being a walking target to the sun. You can also wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeve shirts, or SPF clothing. Don’t forget to keep those eyes covered, too! Be prepared when you go out, and make sure your bag has all the protective gear!

Your outer body is protected does not mean that you are clear to frolic about in the sun’s rays! One of the most important safety tips for the summer is HYDRATION. This cannot be emphasized enough….your body cannot have too much water. Hydrate before you go out, during your outing, and after to ensure dehydration does not set in.

Know the symptoms of dehydration so you can take action immediately. While water is the best source, you can also find proper hydration through sports drinks, tea, or flavored waters. A great rule of thumb is to drink even when not thirsty!

Another important safety tip for the sun is to avoid heat exhaustion. Keep track of the amount of time you have been in the sun! While you may not feel tired or sick, or it may feel like normal reactions to working (heavy sweating/high pulse), your body may be telling you that you are in danger. Listen to your body and take cooling breaks often. In extreme temps, move your activities indoors, or schedule them for early morning/late evening to avoid extended exposure.

Remember, the sun can also interfere with your medicines! It can interrupt how they are processed in your body and also cause severe burns/blistering. Talk to your doctor before going into the sun for long periods.

The sun is not a bad thing! It is just something you need to be prepared for. It does a body good to take in some Vitamin D, and it does your soul even better.